FILM 1101B; Take-Home Final Exam, winter 2020-2021
The Take-Home Final Exam for FILM 1101B consists of two essay questions referring to material covered during the second half of the course. The questions ask you to analyze films using concepts introduced in this class.
The questions are intended to test you on your knowledge of basic concepts in film studies and your skill in analyzing films. In answering the questions, feel free to draw on the class screenings, and also the course reading assignments and weekly lecture videos, to back up your points.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to include quotations from the book and lectures when analyzing a film. When quoting from the textbook or video lectures, try to do so sparingly. Limit yourself to relatively short quotes, and remember to integrate them into your analysis of the film. In other words, if you include a quotation, be explicit about how it supports your ideas on the film.
When citing sources, there is no need to include a formal bibliography or list of works cited. To refer to a lecture video, use parentheses, as in: (Lecture Video 3.1). To refer to a reading assignment, cite the author and page number at the end of the sentence using parentheses, as in the following: (Thompson and Bordwell, 83).
Each essay ought to include between 800 and 1,000 words. (If you write a bit more–i.e., up to 1,200 words–that’s ok.) Please write in full, grammatically correct sentences. As with all other assignments for this course, students are expected to do their own work on the Midterm and neither give nor receive unauthorized assistance.
To submit the exam, send it as a word file via the portal under “Week 7” on the course website.
The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, 27 April, at 12:00 noon. (You can, of course, submit the exam any time prior to 27 April, if you wish.) The exam can be submitted through the portal on cuLearn under “week 12” of the course.
The exam asks you to write a short essay responding to any two of the following four questions:
- Discuss Julieta (Pedro Almodovar, 2016) as an example of the aesthetics of film melodrama. Referring to the textbook’s section on melodrama (pages 354-356), identify some melodramatic conventions evident in Julieta. Is Julieta best seen as a family melodrama, a physical melodrama, or a social melodrama? Pick two scenes (or moments from scenes) from Julieta that exemplify the Almodovar’s use of melodramatic conventions, identifying how Almodovar’s techniques of cinematography, editing, mise-en-scène and/or sound support the film’s impact as a melodrama.
- Examine Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950) as an example of Kurosawa’s “flamboyant” use of film technique. Focusing on the opening twelve minutes, examine the following three scenes: the opening scene at the ruined gate, the woodcutter’s journey through the forest, and the woodcutter’s testimony at the hearing. What are the main style differences between the scenes? How does Kurosawa use film technique to characterize the woodcutter’s flashback? Why does Kurosawa present the woodcutter’s journey as a lengthy silent scene? In answering these questions, please refer to specific devices of mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing and/or sound.
- Discuss The Love Witch (Anna Biller, 2016) as example of an approach to filmmaking inspired by the feminist writings on visual pleasure discussed in the textbook (394-396). Describe two scenes (or moments from scenes) in The Love Witch that could be said to privilege female forms of visual pleasure, identifying the effects of particular methods of mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound. What makes these scenes different from how the same material (which could include nudity, gore, and other elements associated with exploitation cinema) might have been handled by a filmmaker other than Anna Biller?
- Discuss Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989) as a film that exemplifies conventional filmic storytelling in some respects but challenges it in others. Explain how Do the Right Thing differs from an ordinary narrative film by commenting on both the film’s narrative (how its story is structured) and its style, its use of film technique to depict story events. Pick a scene or two that exemplifies Spike Lee’s approach to telling the story. In describing the scene(s), explain how Lee’s use of mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and/or sound add to the scenes’ impact. (Besides the week 8 lecture video, see the analysis of mise-en-scene in Do the Right Thing in the textbook on pages 112-113.)